Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
“If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living.” (Seneca, Roman statesman; 4 B.C. – A.D. 65)
A review of current events does little to increase our optimism about the chances of world peace. It feels like “everything nailed down is coming loose” (the angel Gabriel in the musical Green Pastures).
Over the last year, fighting associated with Boko Haram in Nigeria has led to the deaths of over 6,000 civilians.
A week ago, suicide bombers linked to the Taliban attacked two churches in Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital, leaving 14 worshipers dead and at least 70 injured. Four thousand angry Christians gathered in protest, chased suspects and lynched two of them. Pakistan is embroiled in a conflict between majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims, both groups having violent militant wings. Now with some Christians joining this volatile mix, Pakistan could be headed for an all-out religious war.
Last week gunmen stormed a Tunisian museum, taking hostages and killing at least 21 people.
Friday, a terrorist bombing of two mosques in the capital of Yemen killed 137 and wounded 357 others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Over the weekend, American and British forces left strife-torn Yemen, intensifying fears that the failed state will be a breeding ground for terror groups plaguing the Middle East and the West.
This week, Afghanistan President Ghani will meet with President Obama to discuss the pace of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. He is expected to state that without the continuing substantial presence of American troops on the ground, security will at best be precarious.
An offensive is underway to drive the Islamic State out of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, spearheaded by Iranian-backed Shiite militias. Ironically, some think this force that is on the State Department’s global terrorism list and led by an Iranian general who has directed attacks on U.S. troops will in some way advance the goal of reconstructing a multiethnic Iraq. Could this be another case of misplaced confidence and false hope?
ISIS controls one-third of Syria. More than 20,000 foreign nationals from 90 countries have joined ISIS over the past three years. Holding oil fields, taxing businesses, and claiming cash in banks within captured territory, ISIS is the wealthiest terrorist organization in history. No one knows, of course, where the next extremist attack on a Western target may happen. Foreign-affairs columnist Ian Bremmer (Time, March 30, 2015) theorizes it would take a mass-casualty terrorist strike to build the public support required for a military effort that would destroy these threats.
The Pentagon has announced that sympathizers of the Islamic State group have posted online a “kill list” of 100 pilots, airmen, sailors and commanders involved in the U.S.-led airstrikes against the group in Iraq and Syria. Photographs of service members are included, and also their rank and home addresses. The shock of 9-11 has begun to fade; but if we are starting to think living in the continental U.S. makes us invulnerable, we need to think again.
Believers need to do more—we need to revisit our creed, calm our souls with Christ’s promises, and pray for courage to stay committed to His great cause until He returns and settles international disputes. The world has many swords that need hammering into plowshares, many spears that would make good pruning hooks. Nations are still fighting nations, with many still training for war. There’s got to be a better way—there surely will come a brighter day.
“Here on earth the nations will be in turmoil. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth. When all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” - Jesus (Luke 21:25, 26, 28 NLT)
Johnny R. Almond
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity
Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia
Blog & book info http://GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized.com/